Andy Grammer hit the airwaves in 2011 with his self-titled debut album, spawning two hit singles including “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me.” The singer/songwriter followed up with his second album Magazines or Novels, which featured Andy’s massive hit “Honey, I’m Good,” a track Entertainment Weekly called the “song of the summer” in 2015. He's currently co-headlining a national tour with fellow artist Gavin DeDraw. Grammer has been making time to work on new music, resulting in his recent single ‘”Fresh Eyes.” I got to visit him in New York City as he played a sold out Hammerstein Ballroom, where we caught up about the new single, his latest video and what it’s like playing with Gavin DeGraw.
Let’s start with the new single, ‘Fresh Eyes’. What can you tell me about it?
Andy: The new single is called ‘Fresh Eyes’. It is the first single off my forthcoming studio album where I’m primarily playing on the electric guitar, which is pretty awesome for me.
What was the whole idea behind the single?
Andy: I wrote the song from the perspective of rediscovering love with someone that you've been with for a while. I think we all have those moments. If you've been in a long term relationship, or with somebody for awhile, and then they do something surprising that reminds you why you fell in love with them in the first place – and just how incredibly special they are to you – it’s that moment where you once again have “fresh eyes.”
And was the song also coming from personal experience?
Andy: Yes! So my wife was – she was waking up from a nap. We were on vacation, she didn’t know that I could see her and her hair was everywhere. She started just like rapping Big Sean out of nowhere and I was watching from the bathroom and her hair was everywhere and she was going like ‘I got you’. And I was like ‘I don’t – I didn't even know you knew that song!' Like ‘Who the hell are you right now?’
Your single is all over radio and online – doing really well with the fans. How’s that reaction been for you?
Andy: You always hope that people are going to hear it the way that you hear it, but you never know. So the fact that it's been doing so well with radio picking it up is really encouraging. We're out on a national tour right now, so you can watch it kind of become a bigger part of the set as the tour goes along. In the beginning, fans were just getting used to it given it was such a new song, but now, as soon as I start the chords, everybody starts to sing along so that’s really, really fun.
I’m kind of curious to know how you keep yourself going because your first two albums you had hit after hit with all these great songs. Tell me, how do you keep your creative juices flowing?
Andy: You're kind of always on the hunt for great songs. I'm a junkie for when the lyrics and melody work out correctly. We've all had the feeling of hearing something either in the car, or a friend shows you something, and you go ‘Oh my God, what is that?’ and that is like my drug – to try to create that feeling; it’s my obsession. I remember watching deleted footage from one of the Jerry Seinfeld comedies and they asked him, ‘What's your favorite joke?’ and he goes, ‘That's like asking what your favorite breath of air is.’
So what was that reaction like after watching the music video for “Fresh Eyes”? Did people reach out to you after watching to it?
Andy: Yes, they were really grateful and thankful and sweet and – you know – it’s like a little too on the nose with a song called “Fresh Eyes,” but one of the biggest needs in the homeless community is to be seen – to be seen for who you are and when you're seen as homelesss – that can become the main quality used to describe you.
It's like “Oh yeah, you're homeless.” But, it's like, “No, my name is Eric.” You know what I'm saying? Like, that's really intense. So to go and just give a lot of love and a lot of attention, and see how much that affected everybody involved, it was really special.
I know this new single is going to be part of another album that you are working on, right?
Andy: Correct, “Fresh Eyes” is the first single off my upcoming third studio album.
How far along are you? Are you still working on that?
Andy: Yes, I’ve been writing a ton. For this tour, we brought an extra bus on the road, allowing me to write and produce during the day. We've got a lot of songs. We're getting close, it feels good.
Definitely can’t wait for that. In the meantime, you just released a powerful music video for ‘Fresh Eyes.” Can you tell me a bit about that?
Andy: The music video is incredible. Yes, the song “Fresh Eyes” is about rediscovering love with someone, but with the video, we wanted to do something powerful rather than what was expected. We went down to Union Rescue Mission, LA’s longest running homeless shelter at Skid Row, to provide clean clothes, haircuts, shaves, meals, and more importantly, an ear to listen to the folks who visit that shelther daily.
My hope is that with the “Fresh Eyes” video, it gives a new perspective on the term “homeless.” I feel that the population down there is marginalized way too much – and you know – there’s a bunch of homeless people here in New York as well. I'm sure if you walk through the subway they're almost invisible. You don't even think about them.
So to take someone that you would just walk by, and sit with them, clean them up, shave them, put them in a nice jacket, and hear their story a little bit - it goes a long way.
I had been talking to one of the guys I thought was part of the crew, but in fact, he was someone we had just cleaned up. My surprise took me back because I had been talking to him for 10 minutes, and I didn’t know why I was talking differently to him, and that’s when I thought, what’s the divide there? And that really shook me to my core.
As the video was coming to an end, I tried to sing an acoustic version of it for all people that we’d gotten to help, but I couldn't get through it. I was just crying every time I tried to play because the lyrics were written about, you know, rediscovering love with someone, but then when you flip it to seeing people differently – ‘I got these fresh eyes, never seen you like this before. My God you’re beautiful’ like looking at these beautiful people that you just cleaned up. I just couldn’t even do it. I was in tears the whole time.
You’re co-headlining a national tour with Gavin DeGraw. What is it like getting to work with him?
Andy: It's been amazing. The crowds have been awesome. He's a really good friend of mine and I’ve always been a fan – his voice is bonkers good. This is a show that I would want to come see, like the style of music that's in Wrabel, then the two of us have been – it’s been a really, really good experience. It's like a bunch of friends just hanging out across the country.
Everything seems to be coming full circle.
Andy: Totally coming full circle! To be around different musicians that you respect so much, it's cool.
With the two of you working together on this tour, have you guys ever considered some sort of a collaboration?
Andy: Maybe! Who knows? I'm writing – maybe I'll try to get him in there. Sounds like a good idea.
Has Gavin given you any advice on music?
Andy: Definitely – he’s been in the game a little bit longer than me so I look up to him in some regard. He’s given me advice throughout our friendship and I’ve gotten to open for him a couple of times, so to be co-headlining this tour is a really special thing.
Well thank you so much for speaking with me. I wanna just wish you luck on the tour and I can’t wait to hear more of your music.
Andy: Thanks for having me and its good to see you guys. Be sure to check out www.andygrammer.com to see how you can join me in the fight against homelessness.
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